Soldiers to march through town after Afghan mission
HUNDREDS of soldiers will march through Tewkesbury on Wednesday in a home-coming event.
About 240 troops, mostly from the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), will take to the streets of the town from noon.
It will officially mark their return to their headquarters at Imjin Barracks at Innsworth last month, following a six-month tour of Afghanistan.
Military bosses say the march will honour more than 120 soldiers who were on the tour.
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They are assigned to the ARRC Support Battalion and served in a wide variety of roles in Afghanistan, such as providing infantry forces, searching for improvised explosive devices and partnering and mentoring the Afghan security forces.
The commanding officer of the Support Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Butt, said: "I am absolutely delighted that The Black Watch and soldiers of 170 Pioneer Squadron have all returned safely after the completion of a very successful tour of Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
"I am very proud of their achievements over what has been a challenging 18 months since they began training."
As well as the regimental medal parade through Tewkesbury, the day will also see the consecration of the battalion's memorial wall at Imjin Barracks and the presentation of deployment medals to the unit's personnel there.
All three events will be presided over by the Duke of Gloucester, who will present the medals and awards to the returning soldiers.
The parade will begin at the Boat House in Mythe Road and proceed down High Street to Tewkesbury Abbey.
During the event, which will include a 36-piece military band from the British Army's Parachute Regiment, a salute will be taken outside the abbey by the Duke of Gloucester in his role as Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Logistic Corps.
A civic reception hosted by Tewkesbury Borough Council will then take place in Abbey House at 12.30pm, where the Duke and four of the families of nine ARRC soldiers killed in during previous missions will be joined by local dignitaries.
The reception will include the launch of the council's Diamond Jubilee booklet, which captures local people's memories of the Queen's coronation and includes a foreword from the Duke.
Tewkesbury borough mayor Councillor Phil Surman said: "It is a huge honour and privilege to host this event in Tewkesbury and I encourage as many people as possible to come along and line the streets to welcome home our troops."